Framing the Debate in China

Land Governance in China Historical - Context and critical junctures of agrarian transformation

"This paper provides an overview of land reform in China from both a historical and a contemporary perspective, and contextualises and discusses its key social, political, and economic dimensions.

Section 1 offers a brief overview of China’s history of land reform, outlining struggles between peasants, landlords, and the state for the equalisation of land rights and sketching out the key milestones in the development of land policy.

Section 2 provides a more focused discussion of the role of land in China’s history and its economic development.

Section 3 provides a contextualised examination of land reform in China, premised on economic reform and its underlying social changes and the consequent changes in land use. It looks at how the loss of farmland is caused by rapid economic growth, lack of protection for farmers’ land rights, and a lack of sound land use planning, all of which contribute to growing food insecurity and agricultural unsustainability.

Section 4 offers a wider perspective on the domestic challenges of sustainable agriculture by addressing China’s global agricultural cooperation strategy and the role that land plays within it.

Section 5 reframes the key debates in land reform and agrarian transformation in China in an attempt to provide further insights into the linkages between land tenure, development, and governance."

Yongjun Zhao, Tiejun Wen, Jinming Yan, Tsui Sit, Shuai Yang, Fangzhou Xia